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Unwanted animal pests are becoming hard to find

Monday 20 December 2004

Unwanted animal pests are becoming hard to find in two popular Whakatane reserves.

Both the Mokorua and Kohi Point Scenic Reserves are benefiting from a joint Environment Bay of Plenty, Whakatane District Council and Environmental Enhancement Fund project to rid the reserves of possums.

Environment Bay of Plenty pest animal officer David Paine says after the intensive winter poisoning programme, the reserves have seen possum numbers drop to the point where it is difficult to find them.

Approximately 500 possums were killed in Mokorua and 204 in Kohi Point Scenic Reserves. In Mokorua, possum numbers have been reduced so much that a post-project monitoring exercise only captured three possums in three nights from 50 traps. The post control assessment result was similar in Kohi Point.

But it wasn’t just the pesky possums that the programme focussed on. In Mokorua, equally high success was had with rats – follow-up monitoring failed to find any evidence of rats having survived two months after control. However rat populations are expected to rebuild by the end of summer so a repeat control programme is planned for next spring.

To help the possum and rat numbers stay down, Mr Paine says the poison bait will remain in the Mokorua Reserve during summer.

People using the reserve shouldn’t come across the bait as it has been laid away from tracks, but signs have been put up to warn that it is in the area. Baits are blue cardboard tubes stapled on trees at head height, labelled with a warning notice.

Mr Paine says that anyone who sees signs that are damaged or that have been taken down should contact Rod Fraser at the Whakatane District Council immediately on 07 306 0500 so they can be replaced.

ENDS

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